Saturday, May 25, 2013

At the end of the week ... and the IESO 18-Month Outlook

A review of some events from the past week unrelated to drugs and elites and former TV celebs on public teats.

Early in the week, Tom Adams' site entered it's 5th year.  His observations have, unfortunately, never been more necessary.  Hopefully Adams is receptive to a cry of "4 more years!"

Politically, NDP "Leader" Andrea Horwath announced she would continue to support the Ontario Liberal government.  All rookie leaders in Ontario tend to have dissappointing first election campaigns, but Horwath has, in my view, distinguished herself in increasingly demonstrating she feels an incompetent Liberal government superior to one she would lead.
After 4 years of pain since the foolish Smitherman/McGuinty policies were introduced to Ontario's electricity sector in the form of the Green Energy Act, we look set for two more years of pain, unless the NDP is able to dispose of it's "leader."

Speaking of disposal ... the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released it's latest 18-Month Outlook on Friday.  I've previously written on the relevance of the concluding paragraphs of IESO outlooks, and this one concludes:
Forecasting for embedded variable resources will be developed by Q3 2013. Additionally, RII [Renewable Integration Initiative] will facilitate the dispatching of variable generation, with implementation set for September 2013. 
Variable generation dispatch will allow for greater flexibility and help alleviate surplus baseload generation concerns.
Uh huh

Alleviating the IESO's "concerns" isn't related to controlling costs, or stopping the growth of the SBG problem.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spin Doctors: Air Quality in Ontario Report

The Ministry of the Environment's backgrounder for it's "2011 Air Quality in Ontario Report" caught my attention with statements such as, "air quality has improved significantly over the past 10 years."

This we knew already, but what about over the past year?

Figure 4.8 of Air Quality in Ontario: Report for 2011
I checked to see how 2011 compared to 2010.  I did not spot any accomplishments there, which is notable because Ontario's coal-fired generation of electricity reportedly dropped from 12.6TWh in 2010 to 4.3TWh in 2011.

The Ministry explains, "Emissions of NOx, CO and SO2 continue to decrease due in part to Ontario's air quality initiatives such as the phase-out of coal-fired generating stations."

The Ministry's backgrounder did not reconcile how the coal-fired generation drop in 2011 wasn't matched by declines in SO2 or NO2 in 2011, but it did provide a convenient excuse if air quality wasn't improving:

Transboundary emissions, mainly from the U.S., account for approximately half of Ontario's smog.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Apologies, and other positions for accountability

For the holiday weekend following a week of scandal featuring Senators and Mayors, a reminder of the irresponsibility of the mundane in Ontario's continuing electricity sector/Queen's Park saga

On May 14th, Ontario's Premier appeared on television to offer an apology, of sorts, to people who wanted an apology:
"I am very sorry about the mistakes that we made ... I take responsibility for putting a process in place that ensures this won't happen again..."
"... the people of Ontario need to hear I'm sorry because I am sorry that we didn't have a better process up front, I'm sorry that we didn't site those gas plants better, and that's why a new protocol needs to be in place"
The Premier directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) "develop a new regional energy planning process based on formal input from municipalities, communities and the energy sector."

The Oakville plant was sourced largely due to work by the IESO in establishing the need for generation in the area, with the particular siting the result of the procurement by the OPA.  Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health couldn't find evidence the plant would "negatively impact the health of area residents."

I can't find any evidence the Premier's directive won't further politicize the bureaucracy - using public offices as a means of avoiding political accountability.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath has some bureaucratic solutions to strengthen fiscal accountability
...Horwath says people want to see a Budget that’s balanced and accountable to ensure that public money is invested wisely. That’s why she’s proposing a Financial Accountability Office to provide independent oversight and public information about government spending.
Horwath took the Premier's apology on the gas plant as indicative that NDP braying on the gas plant issues had been effective in goading the Premier into meaningless action.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sunday sees Record Wind Power Generation in Ontario: Value of wind production continues to drop.

The output of industrial wind turbines hit an hourly high yesterday, according to data from the system operator  - the day produced the 12 highest hourly generation totals

The average weighted market price (HOEP) for yesterday's 36,350MWh of wind production [1] was $13.77/MWh.  If the average contract value for wind is $125/MWh, the loss is about $4 million.

There were no hours where the wind production exceeded net export levels

In a recent post I noted issues from the previous weekend; a quick comparison of the changes in generation, and exports, between Sundays May 5th and 12th indicates the impact of the wind production

To compensate for the additional wind generation, the system responded by increasing exports and dumping hydro.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Now and then: Jose Etcheverry Opines on Nuclear Power in Ontario

Yesterday's Toronto Star included an opinion/commentary from Jose Etcheverry [1]Cancellation of Ontario gas plants pales in comparison to nuclear repair costs.  That the article appeared on a particular day is probably relevant to some campaign being run through The Star, but the article isn't timely.  Etcheverry has been saying the same thing for a decade; which allows for a review of his statements today to include his public work from years past.
The bill for the Darlington nuclear plant rose from the original estimate of $3.95 billion to a final cost of $14.4 billion. Despite the cost, Darlington — like every nuclear plant built in Canada — failed to perform as planned and now demands costly repairs. - Now
Source of graph explained here 
Failing to perform as Etcheverry planned a decade ago is true, because Etcheverry expected very poor performance.

In 2004 The David Suzuki Foundation published Smart Generation: Powering Ontario with Renewable Energy; Jose Etcheverry is listed at the top of the authors list (just above Paul Gipe).  Table 2 of that document predicts 51.2 TWh of production from nuclear generation in 2010 (it was 82.9), dropping to only 22.8TWh in 2015 - when the most recent figure I've seen from an Ontario Power Authority expert, is 93TWh.

The cost of a sunny week in Ontario

Ahhhhh, springtime, and a streak of brilliantly sunny days in Ontario.
Obviously my mind turned to capturing some changes to Ontario's electricity sector that are not being reported on by the system operator (the IESO), or the writers of all the contracts for supply (the OPA).

Now that streak is broken, and the rain is here, I've taken a couple of minutes after updating my weekly reporting figures to compare the 7 day periods starting on the 18th Wednesday of 2009 (when Ontario had virtually no solar) and 2013 - when we have some (my estimate was between 650 and 700MW).
Hours are not adjusted to Daylight Savings Time (hour 8 is 9am)

All solar capacity in Ontario is considered by the system operator as "embedded" generation - which means they don't see it or report on it.  What the IESO reports as 'demand' is not the amount of consumption in the system, but the amount of generation.  So without any solar data, the best way to estimate the impacts of solar output on Ontario's electricity sector is to compare the 'demand' shape from a period of comparable demand before solar capacity was substantial, and a brilliantly sunny week.

The change is quite dramatic.  While some of Monday-Friday changes might be explained by load shifting due to time-of-use pricing, the weekend is always off-peak pricing, and on the weekends the darkest hours are little changed, while what is being reported as demand is sharply down in the sunny hours.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Debt; Data, OPG, Water and Wind; Week end Update:

Thoughts on some recent articles of interest - combined with fresh Ontario electricity system data for week 17 (Apr. 24th-30th), and preliminary reporting for the month of April, (including new supply cost estimates)

Parker Gallant and I co-wrote a column which appeared in May 2nd's Financial Post.  A couple of graphics might have emphasized a core argument in Ontario Power Generation turning water into debt: that the hit to OPG's earnings in recent years is in driving down the profitability (now a loss) of the unregulated hydroelectric business segment.
Some comments on the article indicate people have been conditioned/brainwashed to repeat claims about OPG in general, and nuclear in particular, but the facts we point out indicate other business segments have not changed much.- the only generator left exposed to market pricing is OPG - and they are only exposed in the unregulated hydro business segment.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In Ontario, A Preference for Fraud

Yesterday the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Power Authority provided an updated estimate of the cost of bungling the Oakville Generating Station (OGS) in the morning; in the afternoon the current Premier of Ontario appeared before a committee investigating the gas plant boondoggles.

The Premier is described in one paper today as being "in the finest traditions of Sgt. Schultz," and yet from her words we can learn something, even when they are mainly communicating that she knows nothing.

"If we don't learn from the situations in Misssissauga and Oakville then we have failed those residents all over again," Wynne says     — (@AdrianMorrow) April 30, 2013

To Schultz/Wynne it's still only about the votes in Liberal-friendly ridings.
OPA Chief Andersen delivered a document on "The Costs of Relocating the Oakville Generation Station" - a document prepared for the OPA by yet another consultant (NERA).  I didn't read through that document having already reviewed the presentation slides used by Andersen [1], by pulling up the estimates written by star electricity analyst Bruce Sharp over 6 months ago (also here).  While the numbers vary a little, Sharp's methodology seems to be, once again, vindicated.